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PM condemns ‘barbaric’ Putin after Russian leader ‘topless’ jibe

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Boris Johnson has told Vladimir Putin that allies are “appalled and repelled” by his behaviour after the Russian President suggested Western leaders look “disgusting” topless.

The comments from the Russian president came after some G7 leaders joked together about the exploits of Mr Putin, who is known for liking to publicise his athletic prowess.

Mr Johnson appeared to chuckle slightly when Mr Putin’s comments were relayed to him, but responded to the barb by pointing instead to the “barbaric” actions Mr Putin had inflicted on Ukraine.

Speaking at a press conference at the Nato summit in Madrid, the prime minister said: “He should think about the consequences of his barbaric actions, the way his invasion has actually brought the West together, Nato, G7, EU, look at the way people have come together.

“If he wanted less Nato on his borders by getting into Ukraine, which by the way it was never remotely likely that Ukraine was going to join Nato any time in the foreseeable future, everybody knew that, it was completely mythical.

“But instead, what he’s got is Sweden and Finland breaking their historic vows of neutrality because they’re so appalled and repelled by his violence and aggression.

“I think that is an absolutely devastating comment on what he’s done and his behaviour.”

G7 Summit
G7 leaders posed for an informal photo during the G7 summit in Germany (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Mr Johnson was among the western leaders to mock the Russian leader at the G7 summit, joking that leaders could take their clothes off to “show that we’re tougher than Putin”.

Canadian premier Justin Trudeau had also joked that western leaders could try to match Mr Putin’s naked torso pictures with a “bare-chested horseback riding display,” one of the Russian leader’s widely publicised athletic adventures.

Speaking to reporters in Turkmenistan, Mr Putin retorted that, unlike him, western leaders abuse alcohol and do not do sports.

“I don’t know how they wanted to get undressed, above or below the waist,” he said. “But I think it would be a disgusting sight in any case.”

He noted that to look good “it’s necessary to stop abusing alcohol and other bad habits, do physical exercise and take part in sports”.

Mr Johnson used a speech at the Nato conference to defend the alliance, telling the audience that the UK will spend 2.5% of GDP on defence by the end of the decade.

He also stressed the unity of Nato, saying that the organisation was in “robust health”.